In my handful of new comics this week, these two stood out from the pack. They remind me precisely why comics can do only what comics can do – big ideas, with bigger execution.
Dark Horse’s Rapture #1 tells the story of two lovers going through a time out in the middle of an ongoing superhero/villain war. This war has devastated America and the government has had enough. In this set up issue (with 5 more to come) the superpowered individuals are mere background characters. Their effect on the world at large is the pivot point. There’s no specific event alluded to that tipped the scales and made the costumed adventurers flee the planet, but it seems like one of those huge summer x-overs that Marvel and DC give us every year. We’ll probably never know anymore of the heroes than that in this series, but the lovers, namely Evelyn and forlorn muso Gil steal the show. The absence of spandex will not be missed as the shambles of a world that humanity now resides in is intriguing enough, with cannibalistic mobs and Spectre-like hero The Word’s mission to the weary Evelyn. Created by Mike Avon Oeming and his wife Taki Soma the fluidity of the script and visuals is daring. With newspaper clippings and handwritten notes between the separated lovers, it’s slightly different from Oeming’s usual work, but it works splendidly. It’s like Kingdom Come with hints of Civil War, in its use of themes if not superheroes, and the human element behind the superhuman reality makes for an intriguing tale. On the Rapture MySpace page you can see some pretty art and enter a competition for your own sad love tales.
Image’s Chew is likewise a nifty concept. Created by John Layman and Rob Guillory it takes a few pages to realise why this cop tale is off-centre, and it’s this; due to bird flu chicken has been outlawed. Tony Chu is a cop who is also cibopathic. That means he gets impressions off everything he eats. One bite of an apple and he can tell where it was harvested and what pesticides were used on it, etc. He also is able to take that skill and apply it to human flesh. He uses this when he hunts down a serial killer at a “chicken speakeasy” and is rewarded with a job at the now powerful FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This 5 part series is off to a good start with it’s combination of whacky premise, great humour and violence. Layman and Guillory mention in the afterword how they were inspired by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman’s video manifesto last year that urged artists and writers to risk producing more of their own creator owned ideas. Its good to see Kirkman’s sincere plea bearing such good fruit. Dare I say that Chew is a tasty morsel? Yes, indeed. That’s exactly what it is.